In my guidelines on how to fit a classic pair of dress pants, I suggest a “grazing fit” over the hip and thighs. Not too snug and as far as possible, no whiskering. By whiskering I’m referring to the wrinkles created by fabric pulling around the crotch point, hip and thigh area. 

For years I’ve been fitting trousers on clients and fit models of all sizes and body types. And in my experience, whiskering is caused by two things:

  • Incorrect Fit: Fabric pulls across a body part when the fit is too tight. Or when the rise is too long or too short. Or when the cut is too straight. Or when the pocket linings get in the way. 
  • Overly Stretchy Fabric: Woven fabric with too much stretch is prone to whiskering, despite the fit. There is something about the way stretchy fabric drapes and clings that causes it to pull in an area that doesn’t look or feel too tight at all. 

Sometimes, it’s impossible to find a trouser fit that does not whisker, but the good news is that it can be minimized by following one or more of the tips below: 

  • Size Up: Find the size that grazes over the hip and thigh with few wrinkles or no wrinkles, which is often a size up from your usual size. DO NOT worry about the number on the label. Concentrate on achieving correct fit. If the waistband is too large because you sized up, that’s an easy alteration and well worth the investment. 
  • Choose Curvy Fits: These days retailers offer trouser cuts in both narrow and roomier cuts. Curvy fits are cut with more ease in the hip and thigh area to start off with, and can be the whisker-free solution for women with curvier figures.  
  • Choose a style with a shorter front rise: This sounds absurd, but sometimes a shorter front rise or a petite size can do the trick, especially if you are short waisted and/or short in the rise. 
  • Choose a style with a longer front rise: Sometimes, it’s not just about getting more ease in the hip and thigh area, but also about increasing the length of the rise. The extra coverage adds even more ease that “girdles” at the same time. This is especially effective if you are long in the rise. 
  • Choose sturdy fabrics: This is not always the case, but tailored trousers that are cut in weightier fabrications can whisker less than styles made in flimsy fabrications.
  • Choose fabrics with less stretch: There is no need to eliminate stretch altogether because some stretch can improve the way trousers drape over curves. But too much stretch can be a problem when it clings and pulls no matter what. 
  • Choose welted and slanted front pockets: Pocket lining can cause whiskering.This post on front trouser pocket styles that flatter with visuals will refresh your memory. 
  • Choose styles with front waist pleats: This one is counterintuitive, but hear me out. Granted, front pleated trousers can be unflattering on a wide midsection, but they can also be flattering on a small waisted and curvy bottom half. Pretty pear shaped ladies, I’m talking to you. Trousers with structured waistbands and waist pleats add ease on the hip and thigh area, which is one of the ways to avoid whiskering.
  • Choose styles with elastic waistbands: There are many fashionable and trendy baggy and slouchy trouser styles with elastic waistbands and tapered leg silhouettes.The elasticated style is cut with extra ease through the tummy, hip and thigh area, which once again minimizes whiskering. 

Finding a pair of trousers that fits can be time-consuming and difficult. Hopefully it’s a question of putting just one, two, or a few of these tips into practice, and all of a sudden you like wearing trousers all over again. Feel free to bring up additional trouser fit challenges in the comments section and let’s get you sorted.